Q & A
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Q & A
What are your goals when is comes to breeding?
Keystone Gun Dogs continues to breed for the true characteristics and conformation of the German Shorthaired Pointer.  However, our first and foremost quality that we breed is TEMPERAMENT!  Shorthairs are known for being friendly with people and children.  However, as with any breed, there are always those 'bad apples'.  Keystone Gun Dogs will NEVER breed a dog, male or female, that does not possess a loving personality.  The second trait on our list is a close call.  It's between conformation and hunting ability.  Although our dogs are bred to hunt and do so very well  we would have to choose conformation.  This is because a dog that does not have the proper conformation can develop structural problems earlier in life. Dogs with crooked joints and legs cannot move freely.  We continue to strive to breed the BEST German Shorthaired Pointer possible with the best conformation as a goal. Last but certainly not least would be hunting ability!  We breed dogs that you can take hunting and still be part of the family at night.  Our dogs and pups will NOT be happy left alone outside or banned to another part of the house.  We've owned and raised Shorthairs since 1980 and believe us that your new Shorthair puppy must be kept close to his/her new family!

Can I name my own puppy?
Every pup bred by Keystone Gun Dogs is named with the suffix 'vom Schlusstein' which is our registered name with the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA).   In the German language vom means 'from' and Schlussstein means 'Keystone'.  So for example if you want to name your pup Skye.  The puppy's registered name will be Skye vom Schlussstein.
A bit of history: "von/vom" means "of" or "from". The difference between the two words is grammatical, "vom" is used when the word that follows it is masculine or neutral in gender (German words are feminine, masculine or neutral, with often no real reason why they are one and not the other - the window is neutral, the table masculine, the lamp is feminine.)

Originally, people only had first names. Then, around the 15th century, when towns became too large to tell apart all the Joseph's and Peters and Heinrichs, they were given "bynames" that usually referred to their jobs (e.g. Joseph Fischer), their personal appearance (Hans Klein, which means small, short), their birthplace (Peter Bayer, which means Bavarian), etc. Even though Joseph's sons might not have become fishermen they still kept his byname, and several generations down these new family names were the normal thing that they are for us now.  Noblemen, the richer and the not so rich ones, would be referred to as "so-and-so of this-or-that castle or village or local point of reference", e.g. "Heinrich von Fallersleben". Here Heinrich was a man who owned a castle or village called Fallersleben. The name was later treated like a normal family name, even if Heinrich's descendants sold the castle or gambled away the village or simply moved. Therefore, if your dog is called Margo vom Rosenberg she is Margo from/of the rose hill.

Some German people who originally had a "von" in their name have had it changed as it's a bit cumbersome and might make them appear proud and vain (after all, it shows that their ancestors were noblemen). Others still use it and feel that it's part of the family tradition. It's certainly an integral part of the name in the dog and cat breeding world and you should definitely include it in your dog's papers.

What vaccinations will my puppy have received?
Your puppy will receive from my licensed veterinarian distemper-hepatitis, parainfluenza and the canine parvovirus. It is crucial to your puppy's health that the remaining vaccines be given.  You will need to bring your puppy to your vet  for it's second round of puppy shots at approximately 12 weeks of age and the third series of vaccines should be given at approximately 16 weeks of age.  Rabies vaccinations are generally given at 12 weeks of age and the booster given at 16 weeks of age. The Rabies vaccine will be good for 1 year.  The following year during your puppy's yearly physical he/she should receive another rabies vaccine. This vaccine will then be good for 3 years.
Are the dewclaws removed and tails cropped?
Yes, when the pups are two to three days of age my licensed vet crops the tail and removes the dew claw.

What will I receive when I pick up my puppy?
When you come to pick up your puppy he/she will have been examined by a licensed veterinarian.  You will receive a Health Certificate and a record of the immunizations.  You will also receive AKC & NAVHDA (if applicable) registration papers.

Who selects the pup?
Unlike some other breeders, we do not select the pup for you.  However, we do make recommendations on particular puppies depending on whether you are looking for strictly a pet or a pup you want to hunt with. We have better than a 99.9% satisfaction rate with our puppy buyers. This is evident by the testimonials on our web site. We do not request testimonials from people.  All of the testimonials on our web site were voluntarily sent to us.  
Are your pups dewormed?
We deworm our puppies using Nemex 2. This is a dewormer that is used for young dogs.  Our puppies are typically dewormed every other week starting at 2 weeks of age.  We bring a stool sample to our vet during the pups final examination.  If the stool is found to be positive for worms the pups will be wormed again.  It is highly recommended that when you bring your puppy to the vet you also bring with you a stool sample.
How often should I feed my puppy?
We feed our adult dogs twice a day.  Our pups are fed three times a day and then slowly wean them off the noon time feeding. Generally an 8 week old pup will eat approximately 1 cup to 1 1/3 cups of food per day.  We like to divide the food to about 1/3 cup of food three times a day.  Of course as your pup gets older the amount of food will need to be increased. We mix a small amount of cool water with the food and let it soak for about one minute.
Can I breed my puppy someday?
Because Keystone Gun Dogs has been working on perfecting their line of Shorthairs since 1980 we only give breeding rights to those who acquire the following titles:
AKC Senior Hunt title (or better such as the Master Hunter title!)
NAVHDA Utility Dog Prize I, II or III
All pups will be sold with limited registration. Once a dog has all the necessary health screenings as per The German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America AND the above mentioned title(s) are earned the limited registration will be lifted. The health tests needed are cardiac, hip dysplasia (PennHip or OFA) and elbow dysplaisa (OFA), eye exam, cone degeneration, Von Willebrands Disease and Lupoid Dermatosis screening.
At what age should a female be spayed?
There are pros and cons to this question.  Careful consideration should be made before you spay your female.
Behavior problems are generally reduced, including roaming, interdog aggression and anxiety or fear-related problems.
Estrus (heat) behavior, attraction of male dogs, and soiling of surroundings with bloody vaginal secretions are reduced or eliminated.
Infections, cancer and other diseases of the uterus and ovaries are prevented.  Many of these diseases can be life threatening.
Spaying reduces the risk of breast cancer developing later in life. This advantage is only valid if the female is spayed before 2 1/2 year of age, and is most effective if done before her first heat cycle.
Spaying reduces hormonal changes which can interfere with the treatment of certain diseases such as diabetes or epilepsy.

Many complications can and do occur in association with having an animal spayed. Some of these include abnormal reactions to anesthesia (on rare occasions even leading to death), bleeding, stitches breaking or pulling out, and infections.
Occasionally, animals will have long term effects to their health mainly associated with the hormonal changes after removing the reproductive organs.  These may include weight gain, urinary incontinence, or decreased stamina. These problems may occur years after an animal has been spayed.

At what age should a male be neutered?
A male should not be neutered before 1-year of age and there is lots of data suggesting not neutering at all. It's recommended that if you neuter your male wait until he's at least 2 or 3 years of age and a female should be spayed after 1 year of age or after her first heat cycle.

Behavior problems such as roaming and aggression are generally reduced.
Sexual behavior by males, including mounting directed toward people is usually reduced or eliminated.
Attraction toward female dogs in heat is usually reduced or eliminated.

Bleeding after the surgery can occur and may even leas to death, although this is extremely rare. For this reason, it is important to monitor a neutered male dog after surgery for signs of blood loss (pallor in the gum tissue, extreme weakness, rapid heart rate). Internal bleeding may cause swelling of the scrotum with blood and seepage out of the incision.
Infections do occur and are usually confined to the incision site. Generally, they are a result of the dog licking at the incision during the first week or so after surgery.
Complications in neutering a male dog are generally less common and less severe than in spaying a female dog.

Will my dog's masculinity be affected by the surgery?
The answer depends on each person's definition of masculinity.  However, the answer is generally yes since both behavior and physical appearances are affected. Sexual behavior is generally curbed or eliminated, and the disappearance of the testicles in the scrotum and subsequent shrinkage of the scrotum alter the physical appearance of the dog in that area. Other physical features are not affected, and growth is not stunted as a result of neutering. Personality generally remains the same unless a large portion of the dog's attention has been centered around sexual activity.

Do you sell puppies to non-hunting homes?
Although we prefer to sell our pups to testing or hunting homes we do sell to non-hunters as  GSP's make wonderful housepets and companions.  However, GSP's are better suited for active families that like to hike, swim, or go for long walks.  Shorthairs are a true versatile dog.  They make excellent show dogs in agility and rally competitions as well as the obedience ring!  As with any puppy, exercise and obedience training is essential to a well rounded happy dog.  Also; don't forget to keep your puppy socialized with people, children, other animals and their outside surroundings.
Do you recommend crate training?
Yes! It's a must! See our section on Housebreaking/Crate Training.  Housebreaking/Crate Training
Can I train my puppy using an E-collar?
E-collars or also known as shock collars should not be used on a dog under the age of one year.  E-collars should only be used on a dog that already knows the commands 100%.  Please contact Keystone Gun Dogs before purchasing a shock collar. You can absolutely ruin a dog with the misuse of a shock collar or too harsh of commands at a young and impressionable age!  E-collars are best left in the hands of a professional dog trainer.
Are German Shorthaired Pointers a non-allergic breed?
Although you may come across information on various web sites stating that GSP's are good for people with allergies this just is not the case.  As it is true GSP's typically have minimal shedding and a light brushing once in a while is suffice the German Shorthaired Pointer is not recommended to people with allergies.
How often should I bathe my GSP?
GSP's are very easy to groom!  No long hair to tangle or get matted.  A light weekly brushing with a soft bristle brush is all that's needed.  Bathe only when the dog is dirty, comes in from the mud or your dog decided to "roll" in something!  Keep your dog used to having his/her nails clipped by clipping its nails once a week ever so slightly.  This way your dog remains getting used to having his nails clipped.  Use a cotton ball slightly dampened with an ear cleaner designed to use on dogs. We like to use R-7 ear cleaner.  Do not use baby oil as this will attract dirt back into the dogs' ears.  Also; never use a Q-tip.  You never want to put anything deep into the dogs' ear.  Clean the ear as far as a cotton ball comfortably  fits. Clean the outer ear and slightly inside.
Are GSP's good with cats?
Yes!  GSP's are good with cats and other small animals if they are raised with them!  This is not to say that an adult dog will not get along with a cat, but it will make the process so much easier if you begin when the pup is about 8 weeks of age.  In the photo below I had a cat named Missy (Mistletoe) and she was definitely the boss of the house! She had all the dogs very well trained!